Paxus's blog

Members Wanted: The Real Reason to come to the Communities Conference

For more than 30 years Twin Oaks has been organizing a communities conference, which this year is over the Labor Day weekend. We have a great organizing team, there is an excellent program, great workshops, and the whole thing is reasonably priced. But the reason to go this year is the opportunities.

By my count there are over half a dozen communities coming to this year’s event which are seriously looking for new members. No long waiting lists, new possibilities right now. You could come to this year’s event and have your life changed forever to a future in community.

Quercus is Latin for Oak (following the theme of Twin Oaks => Acorn => Sapling.) It is also the name of a newly forming (move in October 1st) permaculture-based urban homestead near the center of Richmond, VA. Quercus is a community based in social justice activism and ecological conservation. It is also income sharing and aspires to be a full member of the Federation of Egalitarian Communities. This house is designed to be a radical space for public presentations, workshops, and performances.  Four fantastic folks are already together and they are looking for a few more pioneers.

A Quercuser and friends dress up

A Quercuser and friends dress up

Extended FAQs – Twin Oaks Decision Making

This is the second in a series of extensions to the FAQs found on the TwinOaks.Org website.  Members, ex-members and other informed folks are encouraged to send corrections or alternative interpretations of my extensions as well as of the official FAQs themselves.

Here is what the website says about our decision making system:

Our decision-making model is based on the Walden Two Planner-Manager system combined with our egalitarian values. Managers are responsible for the day-to-day decisions for their area. For community-wide decisions and larger issues, the Planners (3 rotating members) make decisions by looking at our bylaws and policies, and by soliciting community input by posting papers for comment, holding community meetings, putting out surveys, talking with members (especially members that are closely involved in the issue or have strong feelings), etc. They don’t make decisions based on their personal preference, but rather by gathering information and determining the larger will of the community on a given issue. Any member can appeal a Planner decision they feel is unfair, although this rarely happens as Planners generally do a pretty good job at considering all the aspects of a given issue.

Winter Storm Pax pounds Virginia

I took my current name (without all the crazy additions) back in 1984.  I did not know it at the time, but it would turn out that it was fairly important that i chose a name which had fairly unique first and last components.  This would prove important years later when internet search engines would check to see if there were things more famous than me which had the same words in it (nothing really has for a decade – Paxus was the name of some programming environment which is now largely out of use, best i can tell).  My friend Will Forest has a much more difficult time finding the work he does using search tools.

Pax is messing stuff up - no one is surprised

Pax is messing stuff up – no one is surprised

Tom Farrell’s nuclear fantasy


Missing from this otherwise fine opinion piece is that Dominion just closed the Kewaunee reactor – which had no problems other than a poor performance record. See

Originally posted on Power for the People VA:

Tom Farrell doesnâ??t get it. Dominion Power, the utility of which he is CEO, has been all about building natural gas plants for the past couple of years, as it rushes to take advantage of cheap fracked gas. Out with the aging coal plants that had been its first love, in with the next cheap thing, and never mind the pollution! Then suddenly two weeks ago, faced with a question about climate change, Farrell told reporters

the answer is more nuclear plants


Mother Earth to Tom Farrell: The correct answer is â??renewable energy.â?

Moment of fear

Back in 2010, I had just finished defending myself in a court case for trespassing at the information center for the North Anna Nuclear Power plant.  The county prosecutor had suggested I be sentenced to as long as half a year in prison for this misdemeanor offense.  I had requested a much shorter sentence.  We did not disagree on the facts of the case.  We did have a disagreement about whether MLK broke laws to make political change.  The county prosecutor was quite sure King had not been involved in breaking the law.

MLK jr successfully avoiding arrest

MLK jr successfully avoiding arrest

Almost two years before my trial,  a dozen activists (including myself) had taken over the public tours which were being given at the  Nuclear Information Center and started giving our own tours.  The center management had called the police from the moment we arrived.  The police were very polite and gentle with us, perhaps because there was lots of media around.  Perhaps because it was clear we were not a real danger to the safety of the plant.  Likely some of both was at play.

...i was not so lucky

…i was not so lucky

BFF – Nothing Short of Amazing

Occasionally, some intellectually leaning person will try to make the case against hope.  They will tell you things are bad and that it is important to be realistic and the cards are terribly stacked against us and you should not delude yourself and you should prepare for things getting worse and really this is the reasonable and prudent thing to do.  Nonsense, i say.

For if you were reasonable, you might well just give up on Baltimore.  The city has seen a 30% decrease in population since 1950, collapse of infrastructure, a high violence crime level, a spike in heroin use, food deserts and more.  The folks at the Baltimore Free Farm (BFF) are nothing like discouraged, taking every piece of abandoned property as the possibility for a guerrilla urban garden or more.

Welcome Sign to the garden - classic anarchist suggestion

Welcome Sign to the garden – classic anarchist suggestion

When you arrive at the Ash Street community gardens you are met with the above sign.  It is the only “security” the garden has, asking people to be respectful and only to pick things if they have been involved in planting there.  Our enthusiastic tour guide Billy says it seems to work pretty well.

bounty of riches - mural beside the Free Farm gardens

bounty of riches – mural beside the Free Farm gardens

Westinghouse ditches small reactors

The nuclear industry is often referred to as a priesthood, by critics and supporters alike.  The thought is that the followers of the belief in nuclear power have to have a strong faith in the technology and a willingness to sacrifice themselves to advance the ideology.  Some of the hardest working people I have ever met, promote nuclear power.

And what are these nuclear holy books?

And what are these nuclear holy books?

Part of the understandings within the priesthood is that you try to never harm the position of others in the industry when you change your plans.  So it was with special interest i read the recent news that Westinghouse had dropped out of the small reactor market.  In this news story the Westinghouse spokes people (who are always very careful what they say to the press) tell us that the only reason they are dropping out of this technology is “there are no customers”.  They go on to elaborate that the only way they can actually make money on small reactors is by selling a bunch of them.  The Westinghouse CEO confessed ”Unless you’re going to build 30 to 50 of them, you’re not going to make your money back.”

Dominion wants money for their mistakes at North Anna 3

The Virginia State Legislature is rushing thru legislation that would give Dominion half a billion dollars for the money they have already spent on third reactor at North Anna.


Dominion wants to be reimbursed $570,000,000 by ratepayers for a project unlikely to be built. Dominion last year abandoned its Wisconsin nuke as “uneconomic”, yet wants Virginia customers to pay even if this uneconomic new dinosaur never produces one kilowatt (exactly what happened in the 1980s with the first North Anna 3).


SB 459 sponsored by Sen. Stosch – Henrico  for Dominion Virginia Power is currently making its way through the General Assembly. It has already passed the Senate 40 -0 and will likely pass the House. (Dominion is the largest contributor to Virginia legislative campaigns and does not discriminate between Democrats and Republicans.)

Dominion will be authorized to recoup up to 70% of  $570,000,000 it has already spent to obtain licensing and construct North Anna Nuclear Unit 3 by passing on costs in ratepayers’ monthly bills.  The bill will also permit Dominion to pass on future construction costs to Virginia ratepayers.

cash for nukes

Community Conversation and Conspiracy – Feb 11 Brooklyn NYC

Community Conversations and Conspiracies – Existing and New Communities

Tuesday February 11th, 2014 at 482 Kosciuszko St, Brooklyn NY - Myrtle/Broadway subway stop on the JM and Z lines

An evening of discussion and opening possibilities.  You are cordially invited, this event is free – and please bring food if you are coming for the pot luck.  Please RSVP on the Facebook Event Page.

Potluck 6 to 8 PM:  Demonstrating the power of sharing by doing it.  Dinner and conversation on income and resource sharing communities in general and the Twin Oaks and Acorn communes specifically.  Minimal dish coordination online before the event, all welcome.  Perhaps 30 minutes of presentation and the rest Q&A about what is (in the field of highly intentional community and sharing systems) and why it is important.

artists conception of one eco-village design

artists conception of one eco-village design

3 Income Sharing Models

We had the second Point A meeting at the Keep, which was a bit smaller yet felt stronger.  We spent a fair amount of time describing some of the more important income sharing models which are being used in the intentional communities movement.  It felt desirable to describe them here.

Twin Oaks:

Twin Oaks

Twin Oaks intentionally has the simplest of income sharing models with regard to membership.  You are either a member, and thus part of the income sharing group or you are not part of it.  There are some minor (but important) differences between provisional members (who have not yet been in the community for 6 months) and full members (who have been thru their full member poll, have been in the community for over 6 months and basically have tenure), the most significant of these is health insurance and dental care.

All these model compress down to this

All these model compress down to this

The Twerking of Paxus Calta-Star

You may know Paxus Calta-Star from his anti-nuclear activism and his  fervent promotion of the communities movement. You may even know a great deal about his romances and personal life from reading this actively updated blog.

However, there is a thing you do not know about Mr. Calta.

I suggest you sit down ladies, gentlemen, co’s and [please insert your preferred pronoun or title here]. The fact I am about to unveil may frighten or shock you, so even if you are the most unfazed radical faerie out there you may want to prepare yourself.

The truth has been kept a secret for sometime now, with the exception of those who pay attention to facebook carefully.

For those of you who do not follow such madness, I,  Miss Belladonna Took will give you the madness of Paxus Calta.

Paxus Calta-Star..


Paxus is a Twerk Fanatic

Paxus is a Twerk Fanatic

He’s a Miley Cyrus wannabe with a flair for letting it all hang-out.

If you’ve read his statuses lately you’ve see updates like:

“i be twerkin all night i be twerkin all day i be twerkin YAY”

“I will be giving twerking lessons at M* 5:30pm today till 7:00?

Apparently there are two masterminds behind Mr.Calta’s obsession with the most controversial dance craze of the season.

Was Miley Cyrus the inspiration for Paxus's obsession?

Was Miley Cyrus the inspiration for Paxus’s obsession?

Day in the Life – Acorn

Part of my job is to convince people that life on the commune is better than their life (if it really is, of course).  Some days this is easy.  Today was one of those days.

We have an abandoned Corolla

We have an abandoned Corolla

... so we gave it to our goats

… so we gave it to our goats

Rejoice and i chased down an uncooperative goat this morning, usually they can all be rounded up by a single person.  Today, however, this goat was being temperamental and required special handling.

It is the busy season, and everyone knows it.  There is a busy atmosphere around the place, but it is not stressed.  We are getting it done, picking, packing and shipping hundreds of orders each day.  Part of what has been making it work is that we have been blessed by a rain of wonderful East Winders.  Thirteen of them came on this trip and they have been huge in getting all manner of things done.  After the last East Wind LEX trip i think it is fair to say Acorn has a major motion picture intercommunity crush going on.

State of the Union

As i have said, i dislike Obama, but i recognize that he is very clever.  His State of the Union speech supports this thesis in my mind.  I did not listen to the entire thing and several sections were worrisomely short of specifics (like his call to “get immigration reform done” or “reform the tax code”) .  But he cleverly played a recurring them.  He will use executive power to make the first steps and if congress is willing they will go further.

The most important concrete thing i heard in the 30 minutes it took to crawl from Twin Oaks to Acorn is the gentle snow, was that Obama was increasing the federal minimum wage for $7.25 to $10.10.  He challenged both Congress and business leaders to adopt this floor, even if no legislation is passed.  Claiming that Americans are in agreement that people should not live in poverty.  This will have an especially pronounced effect on those hired to do service jobs for the military.  Obama specifically mentioned janitors and cooks.

minimum wage as fraction of average wage

Pretty Dragon

Dragons can fly

Dragons can fly

exotic faces from Dragons fingers

exotic faces from Dragons fingers

don't even try to resist

don’t even try to resist

walk in the waters fine

walk in the waters fine

The better to kiss you with my dear

The better to kiss you with my dear

She exists only in his mind

She exists only in his mind

Freegantown Video

“The dumpsters are never empty in Freegantown, Freegantown, Freegantown.” Is the refrain from the first musical number in this epic piece of Twin Oaks Children’s theater.

Freegantown cast after the second and last performance.  With dumpster dive tulips.

Freegantown cast after the second and last performance. With dumpster dive tulips.

This short gem was captured in a low resolution video.  But you can get the witty dialog (including the pitch for more bandwidth).  It should be pointed out that Rowan (Tall Guy) is playing a role inspired by me, or at least inspired by my head-achy guests (from Nero who burned part of Acorn, to Jason who drove some people a bit crazy).

Willow explains how the freegans can eat overpriced organic food from Traitor Joes.

Dark Star (Willow) explains how the freegans can eat overpriced organic food from Traitor Joes, when the dumpsters are empty.

Who decides? Three communes models

In the story i tell, at it’s inception Twin Oaks wanted a decision model which was better than simple democratic voting.  The founders thought that communards could make better decisions than what came from the “50% plus one” model which dominated elections and government process.  In the search for the elusive super majority,  they did not want to set a threshold percentage, perhaps because they wanted something more subtle and dynamic than vote counting at the core of our process.  They wanted to leave open the possibility that a small group with strongly held beliefs might be able to shift the groups outcome by carefully reasoned arguments and compelling logic.

TO and EW and Acorn Founder Kat Kinkade in front of a 3 X 5 board somewhere.

TO and EW and Acorn Founder Kat Kinkade in front of a 3 X 5 board somewhere.

An open letter to the white woman who cried "animals"

Reblogged from narcissism for the dubiously modest:

Dear Jeanne Doucette,

While others organize in protest of the Cville weekly's racist, sensationalist faux-journalism in reporting your story, I find that my upset lies primarily with you.  For while there are two very different sides of the story of what happened on the downtown mall on December 20th, what is clear based on medical evidence collected in the course of the legal investigation is that your story was wildly exaggerated.  

Read more… 600 more words

As a propagandist i am amazed at Fox News ability to create a fictitious crime (Knock out) and then get it incorrectly identified as happening in multiple places, using the nominally liberal media as part of the delivery system. This is brilliant. As a radical, the entire thing disgusts me. Thanks Sara for calling out this racist behavior.

racist brian

Freegantown – epic Kids Play

If you are in the area (Charlottesville/Central VA) and you feel like you have some sense as to what community life is like, you should come see the Sunday Jan 26th performance of Freegantown (if you have not already missed it, this is likely today for you).

Rowan, Kaya, Zadek, Evan, Willow and Ezra in Freegantown - Circa 2014

Rowan, Kaya, Zadek, Evan, Willow and Ezra in Freegantown – Circa 2014

Willow (who’s full name is Willow Star Falcon-Flansburgh) plays the villainous ex-communard who goes off to work for  evil corporation Traitor Joes.  His name is Dark Star in the play.  This 30 minute performance, complete with a start up song with Evan on ukulele, is the best kid theater i have seen and some of the best theater to come out of the commune.

I won’t spoil the plot which teases all manner of commune customs and practices and includes blatant calls from the kids for more bandwidth in the community.   But I will say this performance is a bit of insider ball, if you know nothing about the communes, about our pocket dramas around guests or our practices around dumpstering food, you will miss some parts of the story.    None the less i would encourage you to come.

What is not happening at Fukushima (and some of what is)

My old boss and dear friend Honza Beranek saved me a bunch of work by putting together this article on distorted media claims about Fukushima.  The original Greenpeace blog post appeared Jan 24, 2014

Yes, things are very bad at Fukushima but it’s not the Apocalypse

Blogpost by Jan Beránek

Greenpeace experts examine fish samples on the Rainbow Warrior to monitor radiation levels as the ship sails up the eastern coast of Japan on her way to Fukushima in May 2011

Greenpeace experts examine fish samples on the Rainbow Warrior to monitor radiation levels as the ship sails up the eastern coast of Japan on her way to Fukushima in May 2011

There have been a number of news stories recently about the radiation escaping into the ocean at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant that have raised great concern. Some are worried about how escaping radiation  may or may not be affecting ocean eco-systems around the world.

Since Greenpeace has been working on the Fukushima nuclear crisis since it first began in March 2011, we can offer some thoughts on people’s concerns.

We have sampled sealife along the Japanese coastline, both from the Rainbow Warrior and in conjunction with local fishermen and Japan’s food cooperatives.

Because ultimately we need sustainable education

My dearest friend Joan Jr altered me to this Indiegogo campaign for scholarships to the eco-village training course in Missouri.  As with most good crowd-sourcing pitches they have created a compelling video which i would ask you to take a couple of minutes and review.

While this is an international project, it has a strong set of local roots and a commitment to investing mostly locally.  This text from the Indiegogo project description.

Your contribution does much more than to help bring a student from the other side of the world to Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage in mid-America. Your contribution has further impact by growing our local economy and local currency system. Last year, 87% of our budget was spent within five miles of our community.  EEUS and Dancing Rabbit model the power of local economy 365 days a year using our alternative local currency, ELMs. Scholarship contributions help immerse students in our community and continue to strengthen our local economy long after the students return home.

imagine a better future and then help people build it

imagine a better future and then help people build it

Please feel encouraged to help this scholarship fund crowd sourcing appeal.


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